Ledbetter retires after 42 years on bench

The Cookeville City Council honored City Judge David Ledbetter on his retirement after 42 years as city judge. Pictured, from l. to r.: Councilman Eric Walker, Vice-Mayor Lauren Wheaton, City Judge David Ledbetter (front), City Mayor Ricky Shelton (back), Councilman Mark Miller and Councilman Chuck Womack.

By Michelle Price
UCBJ Managing Editor

COOKEVILLE – Cookeville City Judge David Ledbetter has retired after serving 42 years on the bench. Ledbetter was presented a resolution honoring his service during the Dec. 16 city council meeting. 

City Judge David Ledbetter laughs as he reflects on his time as judge.

“Being city judge is kind of a weird job because no matter what you do, every time you come to work and you leave that day, half the people that you’ve seen hate you, or they don’t think you have any sense at all. The other half hopefully thinks you’ve done the right thing. It’s always interesting to see how that works out,” said Ledbetter. “I appreciate you all, and I appreciate the opportunity to observe, and I hope that I’ve been able to do some good and kept the city’s name in the standard where it ought to.”

Councilman Mark Miller remarked that there were multiple council members right now who were not even born when Ledbetter started his tenure as judge.

“Thank you so much for all your service and it’s a true honor to sit here and look up to you in these matters. It’s been great to have you as judge for so many years,” Councilman Eric Walker said.

“I’ve seen a lot of mayors come and go, city councils come and go, city managers come and go, and I appreciate the opportunity I have had to serve the city as city judge,” said Ledbetter. “It has been a wonderful experience for me, and it has been great to have worked with all the people who have went through all these years.”

In addition to his service as city judge, Ledbetter has shared his legal expertise on numerous industrial development projects, the Cookeville Putnam County Industrial Development Board, as well as his assistance with land purchase projects. 

“Thank you, Judge Ledbetter,” added Mayor Ricky Shelton. “We appreciate your service and everything you have done for the city.” 

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